Environmentalism a religion? Naaaah!

Penn & Teller will need a new way to do their Gideon Bible card trick (for an explanation, read the book) at the Gaia Napa Valley hotel in California. As Bloomberg reports:

Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won’t find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer. Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s book about global warming.

Another thing they won’t find is comfort.

They’ll also find the Gaia equipped with waterless urinals, solar lighting and recycled paper as it marches toward becoming California’s first hotel certified as “green,” or benevolent to the environment.

Strange, I always thought indoor plumbing was a good thing, not a vice. Well, try telling it to the manager of the equally green Orchard Garden hotel in San Francisco.

“I’m not your traditional Birkenstocks and granola type of guy,” said Stefan Muehle, general manager of the Orchard Garden, who said green measures are reducing energy costs as much as 25 percent a month. “We’re trying to dispel the myth that being green and being luxurious are mutually exclusive.”

By restricting guests’ access to water?

Before I get carried away with the obvious self-parody in all this, I should note that there’s no begrudging affluent urban left-liberals for feeding their self-satisfaction as long as they do it with their own money. But when tax dollars and government green buliding mandates are involved, it’s a different matter, as a CEI paper pointed out two years ago.

Governments at all levels are promoting the standards, known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a one-size-fits-all strategy to make government buildings more environmentally friendly. Ironically, the standards were not designed to be used this way. LEED mandates are likely to raise the costs of housing for consumers as well as increase tax burdens of citizens in cities and towns that rigidly apply LEED to public projects.

That is precisely what the California state government is doing. As Bloomberg also notes: “Any big new buildings California’s government erects must be designed for LEED certification, by order of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

Yet there may be a spiritual aspect to the needless costs, inconvenience, and discomfort arising from LEED standards — what better way of expiating the sins of living in modern civilization? (Thanks to Lisa Hazlett for the Bloomberg link.)